863.01/2–845: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Caffery)

509. A coalition of Austrian resistance elements of all the principal former political parties (except the Communists) into a Provisional Austrian National Committee is reported to have been formed in Vienna on December 14, 1944 and to have recently sent an emissary to seek recognition and aid in Paris where he was received at the Quai d’Orsay and the Soviet Embassy (but not at the British or American Embassies).2

This emissary is expected to return to Paris again in February. If he should wish to call at the Embassy, in your discretion please receive him and, without committing the United States in any way towards recognition of his group or the furnishing of supplies, hear any requests or statements he may wish to make and report them together with any information you may be able to obtain regarding the Provisional Committee or other resistance activities in Austria.3

Please consult … of OSS for further background information [Page 560] and possible introduction of the emissary.4 Do you know what attitude the French and Russians are taking towards the latter? Apparently the British do not know much about him yet but are now making strenuous efforts to find out more.

Sent to Paris, repeated to AmPolAd,5 Caserta, for attention of Gray6 as number 114.

  1. A note by James W. Riddleberger, Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs, directed to James C. Dunn, Director of the Office of European Affairs, is attached to the original of this telegram and reads: “Extensive O[ffice of] S[trategic] S[ervices] reports along the lines of paragraph 1 of this telegram have come from the OSS representative in Paris. We thought we had better find out more about it.”
  2. In telegram 1246, March 15, from Paris, Ambassador Caffery reported that an officer of the Embassy had talked with an emissary of the Provisorisches Oesterreichisches Nationalkomitee (POEN) on that date. The emissary described the POEN as a coalition of all active resistance elements in Austria with no political aim other than the establishment of a democratic republic. It hoped to set up an organization to represent it outside of Austria, and had plans for a committee in the United States. (863.01/3–1545)
  3. Ambassador Caffery reported in telegram 668, February 13, that Allen W. Dulles, OSS representative in Switzerland, had been in contact with the POEN emissary, whose pseudonym was Weiser, for over a year. Mr. Dulles was “96 percent sure that he is ‘all right’,” but was not certain how formidable the Austrian resistance was. On a recent visit to Paris, Weiser had been received by the Soviet Embassy and the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, but the British Embassy had refused to see him. (863.01/2–1345)
  4. Alexander C. Kirk, U. S. Political Adviser on the Staff of the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater.
  5. Cecil W. Gray, Counselor of Mission, Office of the U.S. Political Adviser for Austrian Affairs.